The fine follows an investigation by the DFS which found that PHH Mortgage failed to maintain a property in New Lebanon, N.Y. The total fine represents a $500 fine for each of the 238 days that the property was registered as being vacant and abandoned.
According to the DFS, the law requires mortgagees and servicers to inspect vacant and abandoned properties, address maintenance issues, and register such properties with the DFS.
“The announcement of this enforcement action puts banks and mortgage servicers on notice that if they do not maintain vacant and abandoned properties, they will be held accountable by DFS,” Vullo said. “It is also crucial that banks and mortgage servicers provide DFS correct and timely information and updates on vacant and abandoned properties to ensure full compliance with the law and correction of violations. Anything less will be met with swift enforcement action.”
DFS also said that the action is part of its strategy to address vacant and abandoned properties in the state. The DFS issued guidance to remind banks and mortgage servicers of their responsibilities to maintain vacant and abandoned properties across the state, which includes reporting applicable properties to the DFS registry within 30 days of any material change to the status of a registered property.
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PHH Mortgage has been fined $119,000 by the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) over its failure to maintain a zombie property as required of banks and mortgage servicers by the state’s Vacant and Abandoned Property Law, according to Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo.